Special teams the difference in loss to Capitals according to head coach Ryan Huska

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
4 months ago
Before their four-day break, the Calgary Flames took the ice at the Saddledome against the visiting Washington Capitals but fell 5-2.
The Flames registered 36 shots on goal, but Charlie Lindgren in the Washington net kept them to two goals after the Capitals took a 3-0 lead.
For the Flames and head coach Ryan Huska, it wasn’t necessarily about the even-strength play. Instead, it was the lack of strong special teams play that kept them from winning this game.
“Five-on-five, I thought we did some things that we liked,” Huska said in his post-game address to the media. “I don’t think we did a good enough job special-teams-wise. For me, that was the difference in the game. Both our power-play not generating anything for us but also giving them momentum and our penalty kill gave up two.”
Unsurprisingly, Alex Ovechkin found his way on the scoresheet via the man-advantage, and tonight, he did it twice, one of them coming on the signature one-timer from the left circle. It was a lucky break, as the shot bounced off of Rasmus Andersson and deflected into the Flames net.
Coaches are constantly asked about how to defend Ovechkin. This season, he hasn’t been the same goal-scorer as he was in past seasons, but he is still a threat from his office.
“For us, we try to make it look like that pass isn’t available to him over there, and then we trust our d-man to block those shots,” Huska said. “The one that went in tonight went off of Ras and in, and sometimes that happens.”
Below is the goal via FlamesNation’s own Robert Munnich:
The other goal that Ovechkin scored was a backdoor tap-in off some broken coverage.
But the penalty kill wasn’t the only thing that struggled. The power-play, which has had its fair share of ups and downs since the season began, also struggled, going 0-for-3 on the night.
“I don’t think we got into the zone efficiently enough,” Huska said. “I thought we were pass-happy early on if you want to call it that. I thought we had some chances to shoot the puck, and we didn’t, and it led to going back and forth. If you’re doing that consistently, you’re not fresh, so then you’re starting to make tired decisions.”
So, with the relatively long break coming up, it gives the Flames time to rest and time to regroup for the rest of March. The Flames will play the Vancouver Canucks on the road on Saturday in the first half of a back-to-back before a game at home against the Buffalo Sabres.
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